Mercer County Criminal Defense Lawyers

With literally thousands of success stories, the criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the experience that you need on your side to fight the serious potential consequences of your criminal charges. From our offices in Trenton, Hamilton, and Lawrence Township, we handle cases in the Mercer County Superior Court and in municipal courts throughout the region. Our firm is composed of veteran trial attorneys who have the specialized experience to vigorously defend our clients in New Jersey. Our team of criminal lawyers includes former prosecutors who understand how prosecutors think and which tactics they use to try to convict people of criminal offenses. Our attorneys are experienced at aggressively defending clients against all types of criminal charges and traffic violations, including DWI, drug crimes, domestic violence, theft, and assault.

Criminal Defense

Being accused of a crime can be an unsettling experience, but the prosecution bears a high burden in criminal cases. If it cannot meet its burden, it should not be able to obtain a guilty verdict. Under both state and federal law, the prosecution must establish a criminal defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant does not need to prove their innocence, and they can defeat a charge by showing that the prosecution cannot prove one or more of the elements of the crime. In addition, a defendant and a Mercer County criminal defense attorney may be able to raise a strong procedural or constitutional defense, depending on the circumstances.

DWI

Under New Jersey law, it is unlawful for anyone to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. Notably, a person can be charged with DWI even if they are not driving at the time that the police encounter them, as long as they are deemed to be operating a vehicle. The police must have a reasonable suspicion that a person committed a traffic violation or a crime prior to stopping the vehicle and investigating the person. Otherwise, the stop may be unlawful, and a defense attorney can ask the court to preclude the State from introducing the evidence produced from the stop at trial.

Drug Crimes

In New Jersey, it is illegal for anyone to cultivate, distribute, or possess an illicit substance or a prescription medication that was not prescribed to them by a licensed physician. Drug crimes can range in severity from a disorderly person offense for certain possession crimes to a first-degree crime for some distribution and cultivation charges. Generally, most drug crimes require the prosecution to establish that the defendant acted knowingly or with intent and that he or she knew the nature of the substance in question. Thus, if the prosecution cannot establish that the defendant acted purposefully, the defendant may be able to avoid a conviction. A criminal defense attorney in Mercer County also may be able to defeat a charge if they can show that law enforcement failed to follow constitutional rules in searching the defendant or their property and seizing the evidence used by the prosecution.

Domestic Violence

New Jersey law defines domestic violence as actual or threatened abuse of a person by an individual with whom the person has or has had an intimate relationship. While the abuse may be physical, domestic violence is not limited to physical acts but also may include emotional, economic, and sexual abuse. In addition to being charged with a crime, the defendant may be subject to a restraining order that restricts their rights. If the defendant violates the order, they may be charged with an additional crime. As a result, anyone charged with a crime of domestic violence should mount a strong defense to fight for their rights.

Assault

New Jersey defines assault as knowingly, recklessly, or purposely causing or attempting to cause another person bodily harm or causing another person to fear imminent serious bodily injury. A person also can be charged with assault for injuring another person with a deadly weapon, regardless of whether the act was negligent or intentional. Assault crimes are categorized as simple assault or aggravated assault, depending on factors such as the actor’s intent and the severity of the harm caused by the act. In many cases in which a person is charged with assault, a Mercer County criminal defense lawyer can help the defendant argue that he or she was acting in self-defense.

Theft Crimes

Common forms of theft include burglary, shoplifting, theft of services, and identity theft. In general terms, theft occurs when a person acts to deprive another party of their property. Theft crimes are graded from disorderly person offenses up to first-degree crimes, depending on the value of the property allegedly taken and whether force was used. A defendant charged with a theft crime may be found not guilty if the prosecution cannot prove that he or she acted with the intent to deprive the property owner of the property. In other situations, the defendant may be able to establish that he or she had the owner’s consent to take the property.

Sex Crimes

Sex crimes, such as rape, sexual assault, and criminal sexual contact, are often considered to be some of the most heinous crimes that a person can commit. An element in most offenses of a sexual nature is the victim’s lack of consent or his or her inability to consent. Therefore, in cases in which non-consent is an element of the crime, a criminal defense lawyer in Mercer County may be able to show that the defendant had the consent of the alleged victim. Consent is not a viable defense to some sex crimes, though, such as crimes involving children. In those cases, a defendant may try to establish an alibi or attack the credibility of prosecution witnesses.

Weapons Crimes

Many people who have previously been convicted of a crime are prohibited from owning firearms. Additionally, there are many firearms that are illegal for anyone to own. A conviction of a weapons charge can result in serious penalties, including jail time. Many weapons crimes include an element of intent. In other words, the prosecution is required to establish that you knowingly possessed the weapon and, in some cases, that you knew what the weapon was. If the prosecution cannot establish one or more of the elements of the crime, including intent if required, they should not be able to get a conviction.

Juvenile Crimes

It is devastating for a parent to learn that his or her child has been charged with a crime. While juvenile charges typically carry lesser penalties, they should be taken seriously because they can have a serious impact on a child’s future. One of the main goals of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate minors who have committed crimes, in part to make the community safer. Juveniles are required to be represented by an attorney at the adjudication of their charges. While the court may appoint an attorney if you do not hire your own lawyer, you should strongly consider hiring a private criminal defense attorney in Mercer County who will take the time to carefully investigate the case and build strategic arguments for your child.

Traffic Violations

Although traffic violations are relatively minor compared to most crimes, they can result in points being assessed to your license. This can cause increased insurance premiums and may ultimately result in the loss of your license. Thus, in many cases, a driver should consider disputing a citation for a traffic violation. The court may be willing to impose a fine without points to resolve the matter. In other situations, traffic citations may be dismissed due to a procedural or technical error on behalf of the officer who issued the citation.

Expungement

If you have been charged with or convicted of a crime, you may be able to legally remove any evidence of your conviction via expungement. There are numerous factors that are weighed in determining whether a person is eligible for expungement, including the number of convictions on his or her record, and the nature of the crime committed. Additionally, the time for which a person must wait before seeking expungement varies depending on whether the person was merely arrested but not convicted, the nature of the offense, and other limitations set forth by statute.

Consult an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Mercer County

A criminal conviction can permanently alter the course of your life, impairing not only your liberties but also your relationships and job prospects. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can assess the circumstances surrounding your arrest and devise a strategy that will protect your rights. We regularly represent people charged with crimes throughout Mercer County, as well as Hunterdon and Burlington Counties. You can contact us through our online form or at 877-450-8301 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your charges.

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